With today’s fast pace and busy society, stress effects each and every one of us. There are different types of stress but today we will talk about lifestyle stress. A little bit of stress can be good, and often motivating. However, if we do not manage our stress levels, we can suffer from chronic stress which has large impacts on our health and diet. Keep reading to see our top 5 tips to reduce stress and help you manage your stress levels.
Tip 1: Learn to Say ‘No’
This tip is easier said than done and definitely something I need to work on myself. Sometimes for your own health and wellbeing it is important to say no to attending every social event, doing everything asked of you and running around for others without looking after yourself. Think about yourself like a bank account. What deposits are you putting in and what is coming out? Are you spending more than you are putting in? Saying yes to everything and everyone? If so, you will likely burn out and deprive yourself of necessities like energy and sleep. So, take time to think about your deposits, learn to say no to lessen the stress on your plate and do things for yourself instead.
Tip 2: Unplug and Recharge
It is easy to feel overwhelmed, constantly working hard to achieve bigger and better things. A psychologist once told me, we never let our phones stay in the red low battery zone and always recharge it, so why don’t we treat ourselves the same way. The concept of unplugging yourself from life and recharging yourself with ‘me time’ is so crucial. Ways to recharge yourself can be as simple as getting your nails done, going for coastal walk or having a coffee with a friend. Ensure you unplug yourself from work each day, turn off your mobile phones at night and spend quality time with your friends and family. You could even find yourself a hobby or sport to get your mind off the stresses of life.
Tip 3: Be Organised
Organisation is not everyone’s strength, but it is a skill that can help ease the stress you may be feeling. If our lives are unorganised and unstructured, we will naturally feel even more stressed. One way to be organised is to effectively use a diary or desk planner and write in all your commitments as well as setting some ‘me time’. Another tip is to prioritise your list of things to do from most urgent to least important. This way you can organise your days, utilise your time more efficiently and feel accomplished with all you have ticked off your list. This will definitely ease the pressure off your shoulders and help you manage your stress levels.
Tip 4: Exercise
When we are stressed, we tend to not have the energy and or motivation to exercise. However, any form of exercise you enjoy, whether it be going for walks, runs, swims, yoga or pilates, will help clear your head space. Getting your body moving will help you focus better on your commitments, improve your sleep and boost your energy levels. Start with 15 minutes a day and increase gradually when you feel ready.
Tip 5: Eat well
For many people stress has a direct effect on weight, causing weight loss in some due to digestive issues or loss of appetite, or it could lead to weight gain due to the higher levels of cortisol, making less ideal food choices or using food for comfort. Food is what drives you, so it is important to spend time thinking about the meals for the week ahead, things that you are going to buy and prepare. If you do not eat properly, you’ll likely feel worse and extra stressed. Try dedicating a day in the week to get your meals right and that will be one less stress to worry about. Bring it back down to the basics by eating wholefoods including vegetables, protein (such as lean meat, poultry, eggs and tofu) and complex carbohydrates (such as wholegrain breads/cereals, sweet potato, legumes and brown rice).
So, I hope you have found our top 5 tips to reduce stress helpful. Although stress is something that cannot be fixed overnight, just be persistent and do not compare yourself to other people because we all handle stress differently. Just worry about what you are doing, put yourself first and put these tips into practice.
Start feeling better now! By signing up to The FODMAP Challenge you will receive meal plans, recipe ideas, and regular support with other resources, to make this as easy for you as possible.
References: Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G. and Siegel, S.D., 2005. Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol., 1, pp.607-628.